Police hunt swan killer

TODAY a £250 reward has been offered to catch the gun-wielding monster who killed a swan after shooting it in the chest.Despite desperate attempts to save the bird it was so badly injured after being shot with an air rifle that it had to be put down.

TODAY a £250 reward has been offered to catch the gun-wielding monster who killed a swan after shooting it in the chest.

Despite desperate attempts to save the bird it was so badly injured after being shot with an air rifle that it had to be put down.

A horrified warden at Needham Lake in Needham Market contacted police after finding the swan in pain near the car park.

Police are today hunting the person responsible and The Evening Star has put up the reward to encourage people to come forward and name the sick maniac.

The injured bird was taken to the Stowe Veterinary Group, Stowmarket, where it was put down. Police and vets believe the weapon used in the attack may have been an air rifle.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “We condemn anybody using any firearms to shoot any wildlife without a licence.

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“Swans are protected animals and should anyone be found to be injuring or hurting them criminal proceedings will follow.

“This attack happened during daylight hours so we are hoping there are potential witnesses who will remember something and be able to help us with information.”

The incident happened between 7am and 5pm last Wednesday .

Paul Canham, veterinary surgeon, said: “The bird was very distressed when it was brought in. It had been shot through the chest, in one side and out the other, and it did look like an air rifle wound.

“I've never seen a swan shot like this before, it's horrific.”

Chris Durdin, RSPB spokesman, said: “It is very sad when you hear about this type of thing.

“It sounds like the police are taking this seriously and they will have to gauge the circumstances and take whatever action is appropriate.”

Sophie Wilkinson, spokeswoman for the RSPCA said last year there were 58 reports of animals being shot in East Anglia, of which 29 were attacks on water birds.

She said: “Unfortunately it's quite common.

“We have been trying to get legislation surrounding air weapons changed so young people cannot use them unsupervised.

“We find that the number of attacks on animals usually goes up around school holidays and weekends.”

She added that contrary to popular opinion swans do not have a “special status” in law due to their traditional connections with the monarchy although they remain protected by legislation like other wild birds.

Anyone with information on the attack, which happened some time last Wednesday between 7am and 5pm, is asked to contact Pc Robert Bartley at Stowmarket Police on 01284 774100.

What do you think of this attack? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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